India is facing a number of public health challenges including persistent malnutrition, health risks due to environmental degradation and climate change as well as a growing burden of non-communicable diseases including mental health and newly emerging infectious diseases.
Socially vulnerable groups based on caste, class, gender, ethnicity, region bear a disproportionate burden of adverse health outcomes. The COVID-19 pandemic bears testimony to such sharp inequalities in health. Promoting health and wellbeing among the populations requires organised efforts that go beyond individualised medical care and actions beyond the health sector including provision of better sanitation, safe drinking water, nutrition and improving overall work and living conditions.
To tackle India’s growing public health challenges that address social inequalities in health, we urgently need public health practitioners who are committed to the social purpose of public health, have the required public health competencies, and are grounded in the field realities and contexts in the country.
The Indian Government as well as the Lancet Commission on education of health professionals for the 21st century strongly call for revamping public health education to respond to the current and future challenges of public health.
Azim Premji University’s Master of Public Health (MPH) programme* aims to contribute to this by enabling professionals to develop a grounded understanding of public health challenges in India embedded in a commitment towards the values of equity, rights, and social justice. It is designed for professionals with medical or non-medical background, who are interested in tackling India’s growing public health concerns.
*subject to all approvals
What are the lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic for strengthening India’s public health system?
Which urgent systematic actions are needed to ensure the wellbeing of the rural and urban poor who face disproportionate burden of healthcare access and outcomes?
What can we learn from the intersectoral actions, such as improved sanitation, access to clean water, nutritious food, that have led to better health outcomes?
Our programme aims at nurturing prospective public health practitioners to have the theoretical knowledge, as well as skills to:
- Understand and apply a multi-disciplinary and intersectoral approach to public health
- Design, develop, implement, and evaluate public health policies, programmes and interventions leveraging opportunities for inter-sectoral actions
- Use and generate research evidence for public health action
- Undertake public health action through community and health system engagements
Association with Azim Premji Foundation
The Azim Premji Foundation, which has made a significant contribution in the field of primary education, is beginning a long-term and sustained effort in different domains of Public Health such as health system strengthening, healthcare access, and health education.
The upcoming Master of Public Health (MPH) programme being offered from Azim Premji University, Bhopal, is one step towards this long-term commitment and conviction.
Why study with us?
The programme will ensure
- a synergy of theoretical perspectives with diverse empirical realities.
- substantial field engagements through concurrent, periodic and semester-long engagements as well as hands-on workshops.
- a social and population orientation to public health with a focus on preventive, promotive and rehabilitative aspects and not merely the curative aspects
- development of perspectives and skills for intersectoral action to address growing inequities in health through community participation and actions sectors allied to health.
- a pedagogical approach to promote active and collaborative learning; ample opportunities to learn from public health field practitioners
- one-on-one academic mentoring by faculty members for field projects and other aspects of the programme.
Candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree from any discipline and at least two years of work/field experience will be eligible to apply for the programme. For candidates from medical and paramedical disciplines, the experience could include internships, clinical and healthcare work. For non-medical candidates, the experience could include full-time employment, long-period internships, substantial volunteer work in the development sector.
Our faculty members have diverse backgrounds and expertise in academia and public health practice in domains such as epidemiology, public health programmes, health communication, medical sociology, environmental health, public health law, health systems and policy, among others.
The University’s Placement Cell provides assistance for placement after completion of the programme and support for general professional development. For this purpose, the Cell works with varied types of organisations in the health sector, including NGOs and other social sector organisations, corporate social responsibility organisations and government organisations.
Azim Premji University’s MPH programme is designed to prepare students for work with various government as well as non-governmental organisations in public health and related sectors. Examples of roles include programme coordinators, district programme managers, project officers, coordinators, policy analysts, health communication officers, and consultants.
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Our curriculum is designed to engage students through a multi-disciplinary and inter-sectoral approach to public health. Students will develop a historically grounded understanding of public health challenges, interventions, and their social and ethical implications through a set of 15 core courses including field learning courses.
Multiple competency-driven core courses during the first year of the programme will enable the prospective public health professionals to address public health concerns through research, communications, advocacy and programmatic interventions at the community, programmes, and policy levels.
Our core courses, which also include exposure to field realities, will help students learn to empathetically engage with lived realities of diverse communities as sites of public health knowledge and practice. This will enable them to imagine new initiatives and actions to deal with existing and emerging public health problems through identifying and leveraging opportunities for inter-sectoral actions.
The programme offers a set of elective courses on diverse topics in public health in the second year (such as mental health, global health governance, comparative health systems, advanced research methods: epidemiology, qualitative, participatory and mixed methods, sexual reproductive health, disability, nutrition, etc.)
This course aims at introducing students to understanding and examining public health by interrogating what is ‘public’ and ‘health’. It would help students appreciate why values of equity, social justice and human rights are intrinsic to public health and its implication on public health practice.
It encourages students to engage with questions: What does a population/community orientation (contrasted with an individualised orientation in clinical medicine) of public health entail? Why do values matter in public health? Who is responsible for public health – state, society, individual? What does ‘health’ in public health entail? How do we situate the tension between focus on disease-centred care and comprehensive health and wellbeing (physical, mental, and social wellbeing) that includes preventive, promotive and rehabilitative care in public health?
How do we address and resolve fundamental conflicting ethical principles/values that affect public health practice and decision making (For example, individual freedom vs common good, market vs social justice, equity vs efficiency)? How is health situated in the broader development imagination of Indian society? What are some of the defining moments in history that have informed our understanding of what public health is and what are their implications in contemporary contexts?
This course questions the norms of public health practices and the ethical implication to such practices.
What are the social factors that affect health of individuals and a community?
What constitutes evidence in Public health? What are pros and cons of such "Evidence"?
This course examines different health systems frameworks to locate public health issues.
Understanding epidemiological research using health reports, analyzing secondary data and other biostatistical tools.
Understand the relevance of qualitative evidence for making informed public health actions.
Discussing some of the long-standing as well as emerging public health concerns that need inter-sectoral thinking and actions.
Understanding the programmatic responses by the government to diseases profiling, in the form of the goals, structure, actors and impacts.
To get a conceptual understanding the context, assumptions, and overall framework/political economy of public health.
Students will study and analyse a range of civil society interventions that have sought to address some of the core public health concerns through direct intervention in healthcare.
Students will learn the theories of health financing, various existing methods of health financing, the evolution of health insurance, and the existing health insurance options and their stakeholders.
Electives will be offered in semester III. Electives would largely fall under four areas including deeper understanding of perspectives, skills relating to programme management, evidence generation, advanced courses on public health actions and courses on select specific themes within public health keeping in mind some of the neglected themes including disability.
A combination of courses from the following will be offered for students to choose two courses depending on their interests.
- Perspectives: Enhancing perspectives around gender and health, globalisation and health, medical pluralism, etc.
- Programme management-related: Advanced courses on programme evaluation; Programme implementation; health system governance
- Evidence in public health: Advanced courses on methods including advanced epidemiology and biostatistics, qualitative methods, participatory methods
- Public health actions: National/local advocacy, development communication, social accountability
- Public health themes: Adolescent health; mental health; public health law; disability; technology and health, WASH, work, and health; global health, etc.
The programme includes multiple mandatory field practice components. This includes field-based courses during the semester, during inter-semester periods and a four-month long internship and field-based project in the last semester.
Total 69 credits